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Online retailer promises unlocked iPhones

PureMobile.com says it will sell unlocked versions of the iPhone.

A liberated iPhone? Apple.com

One of the most popular questions regarding the Apple iPhone asks whether Apple will sell unlocked models. So far, the consensus has been that such a move is unlikely, but much to our amazement, we noticed today that PureMobile.com, a online cell phone retailer, is touting unlocked iPhones on its Web site. It appears to be the 8GB version of the phone in black (is there any other color?).

Now before you whip out your credit card, we have to stress that PureMobile won't allow you to buy anything at the time of this writing. It only says the device is "coming soon." It also doesn't give a price, but shipping is $19 or $29, depending on your delivery speed.

Uh, excuse me? An unlocked iPhone that you could use on T-Mobile or any other GSM carrier? Needless to say, that blows the conventional wisdom out of the water. Not only would an unlocked version let too much control of the iPhone out of Apple's hands, but also we can't imagine that AT&T would be too happy with it, either. The carrier has spent a lot of money promoting itself as the exclusive provider of the iPhone. What's more, an unlocked phone would free you from the service contract that AT&T is requiring for iPhone buyers.

We're thoroughly skeptical that this is for real. PureMobile (a certified CNET retailer) was closed for the day at 3 p.m. Pacific time, so we couldn't verify any other details. As such, we advise you to take care before plunking down any cash. Also, it's important to note that an unlocked iPhone will be subject to the same peculiarities as all unlocked phones. You should be able to make calls without any problems, but without any carrier Internet settings, data features won't work out of the box.

Stay tuned for more. We'll be pressing our "refresh" button religiously.

Thanks Nathan